; * TJHE LIFE OF V /
Cleretta Nor§ Avery,
Wonderful Color'-;! Girl Preacher
Eleven Ye irs of Age,
AND HER WOW" "IN NEW YORK;
From Her Do I* -J to the Pulpit.
By MRS. V gt AVERY,
CARTH.'- G-E, N. C.
• 4 ■
Record Job PkiVu, Wilmington, N. C.
THE LIFE OF
Cleretta Nora Avery,
Wonderful Colored Girl Preacher
Eleven Years of Age,
AND HER WORK IN NEW YORK.
From Her Dolls to the Pulpit.
By MRS. V. G. AVERY,
CARTHAGE, N. C.
Record Job Print, Wilmington, N. C.
The Wonderful Colored Girl Preacher.
Birth — Parentage, Early Conversion and Preparation for her
CLERETTA NORA AVERY, the wonderful and famous ten year old
colored girl preacher, inspired evangelist and powerful revivalist, was
born in the city of Washington, D. C, September 18th, 1885. She is the
second child of her parents, her infant brother having died about fifteen
years before she was born.
Cleretta's mother, Mrs. Victoria G. Avery, was originally Miss Victoria
Georgie Andrews, a women of remarkable intelligence, industrious habits,
high character, and fine personal appearance, who was born in Pensacola,
Florida, about the year 1846, of African and Spanish parentage. Her par-
ents died early in life, and when but a very small child Victoria was car-
ried to Mobile, Alabama. During the dark and terrible days of the civil
war^ when many slaves were making there escape across the lines to the
free lands of the North and Northwest, and many others in the South were in
danger of being captured by the Federal troops and liberated — in those
dark days that tried men's souls — Victoria was removed from Alabama to
Texas. She remained there until the first year of the war, when an at-
tempt was made to sell her as a slave. She made her escape by disguising
herself as a Spaniard, which was quite natural and because of her Spanish
color and features, and ability to speak that language, and by riding a dis-
tance of about three hundred and fifty miles on horseback into Mexico.
Hera she remained several years, acquired a more perfect knowledge of the
Spanish language and customs, mingled freely with the best classes in that
country by reason of her intelligence and personal beauty, and was every-
where received as a cultivated Mexican woman. Many interesting lectures
have been given by Mrs. Avery on this period of her life, in which she re-
lates the many thrilling experiences through which she passed during the
many years of her early life spent in Texas and Mexico.
After the war Victoria returned to Mobile and married an early acquaint-
ance and friend of her childhood days, Moses Brown Avery. Mr. Avery
was a remarkably intelligent, industrious and conscientious man, who was
born, also, in Pensacola, Florida, and was about fourteen years her senior.
He came of intelligent and well-to-do parentage, his father having been an
associate of and a co-laborer with Fred. Douglass, James Summerville,
Willis Pope and other distinguished colored men who played a prominent
part in the anti-slavery and abolition movement before the late unpleasant-
Early in life Moses B. Avery embraced religion and united himself with
the Methodist Episcopal Church, North, where, shortly afterward, he was
ordained a minister of the gospel. It was not long after this that his
ardent love for his race, and his desire to be more fully identified with his
people in all enterprises looking to their advancement forced him to trans-
fer his Church membership to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion
Church connection. In the conferences of this church he was soon recog-
nized as a strong and influential man, an independent thinker, and an out-
spoken leader among his brethren.
Though much of Mr. Avery's time and energies were devoted to the
preaching of the Gospel and the performance of church duties in the towns
and cities of the Southwest, where his appointments were generally located,
yet he always maintained a lively interest in the Christian education of his
race and did much to advance the general education of the colored people
in the States of Louisana and Mississippi. Besides advocating liberal state
appropriations for colored public schools in the religious paper of which
he was editor and proprietor, he founded educational institutions and be-
came principal himself for a time of several local schools in the South and
Southwest that are now accomplishing much good and are great levers in
the elevation of the colored race. Mr. Avery was generally regarded as a
man of strong convictions, a bold and fearless writer and an eloquent
speaker. He was always true and devoted to the interests of his race, for
whom he suffered many things while advocating their civil and political
rights and privileges; and in one particular instance he was known to have
forfeited thiee thousand dollars to. help a poor unfortunate colored man
out of a difhulty.
During the last few years of his life the Rev. Avery did the work of an
evangelist, for which he had special qualifications, mainly in the State of
North Carolina, whither he had removed, and traveled around exhibiting a
panorama of Biblical scenes, until his death at Aberdeen, N. C, in May,
1895, in his sixty-third year of age, beloved by his many brethren and
friends and mourned by a faithful wife and affectionate daughter.
Cleretta was converted when about eighteen months old. Many persons
have been inclined to doubt this statement, but when it is remembered
that Samuel and John the Baptist were accepted and blessed by the Lord,
when infants, and that many eminent Christians date their conversion from
so early an age that they can scarcely recall the momentous change, it will
be admitted that God is able "to choose the weak things of the world to
confound the things which are mighty, 1 ' and "out of the mouths of babes
and sucklings" to ordain strength and perfect praise. Cleretta's early re-
generation was not impossible, for God has "hid these things from the wise
and prudent and has revealed them unto'babes."
In preaching she always refers to her early change of heart in words like
these: "I was converted when a year and a half old. I remember quite
well the day when I felt a new love in my heart and I became acquainted
with Jesus, knowing him for myself. Some people say that my father or
mother or somebody told me so; yes, it Avas my father, but he was my
heaver; ly Father. You may doubt it, but since God knows it and I know
it, I am quite well satisfied, God's Holy Spirit can acquaint a little child
with Himself before that child knows its parents." y
In the early development of the intellect and tastes of the subject of this
sketch could be rea,dily seen the sure siirns of her coming greatness. She
was a remarkable child; thoughtful, prayerful, reverent, obedient and to
this day she is a strong advocate of temperance. But let it not be pre-
sumed that she is ignorant of the ways and wiles of children. She was
fond of her many dolls and playthings, and like the great Chalmers, who,
when three years old was found standing on a chair in the nursery preach-
ing to an audience of one little girl from the text "Let brotherly love con-
tinue," so Cleretta delights "1o play preaching" with children smaller
than herself. Her love for her dolls may be seen from the following inter-
view with her, which appeared in the New York Recorder, November
"Cleretta Avery, the colored child preacher, with whose eloquence the
readers of the Recorder are already familiar, will preach at the J. S. Wil-
liamson Mission, 125 West third street, this evening at 8 o'clock, and again
at the Baptist Church in Waverly Place, on Sunday night.
That she is truly a most remarkable child has been evinced; that she is a
phenomenon is not to be doubted. She is a demure little thing, with big
black eyes and a serious expression. She has a frail little figure and a
head of abnormal shape.
The mixture of childish fancies and maturity of brain ability gives her a
peculiarly odd manner.
"Cleretta has a most v^onderful collection of dolls, numbering in all
about 150. In telling about them she said: "T only bought a very few.
Some of them are china, some kid — different kinds, you know. They are
all white except one. That I bought. I have only two boy dolls - . I can't
remember all their names, of course. One is named Adler. How do I
spell it? A-d-l-e-r, I reckon, and one is named Tonet, after Mrs. Gen.
Greely's two little girls in Washington. My biggest doll is named after
me and the smallest one isn't named."
Then she brought forth from the recesses of a large trunk some remark-
ably Sj ecimens of her family. One bisque young lady with flaxen curls
wore a gown of red with lace and steel ornaments, such as was never seen,
even at the Horse Show, and such a hat as must have filled its sawdust heart
with pride. 'Tier name is Mamie T " she said.
"Which one do you love best of all," asked the Recorder woman ?' Then
that little lady displayed the chief characteristic of her sex, for she replied
innocently: 'T love one of my boy dolls best."
Then she told all about the object of her affections. "His name is
Piince Albert. He has curls hanging down around his neck. He wore a
blue suit* and it had a pocket. I play house, have church, parties and
"Are your children religious ?"
"Some of them say their prayers. I don't have time to make them all
kneel; there are so many of them. Some of them are school-teachers. We
children had a school in Oxford, N. 0., I had a church at my house; that's,
where my first revival took place."
From discussing the dolls' school her conversation drifted to her own
"Do you read fairy tales ?"
"Do you believe in fairies ?"
"I don't know— maybe. I suppose so. I never saw one. There is one
piece I like in Mother Goose— That is l Polly put the kettle on.' I like it
because its the first piece I ever learned."
"Which do you like to read most — fairy tales, Mother Goose, or your
little Bible ?" asked the reporter.
"My Bible, because, said she," with emphasis, "because I can't carry
my other books traveling."
"Are you afraid of the dark ?"
"No, not at all."
Then she chattered on about Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"I don't hang up my stocking because I have a tree. I'd like to see
"What's Thanksgivir.g for?"
"It's to give thanks to the Lord for sparing us from one Thanksgiving
Day to the next."
She had never heard of the New Woman, and did not receive the descrip-
tion of one with enthusiasm.
"I wouldn't think it right, because I think a woman should keep in her
place," was her comment.
The little preacher has never been to a party, but has given birthday en-
tertainments. When asked how they were conducted she said:
"We sing, and pray, have cakes, ice cream and candy."
"Don't you ever play 'Puss in the Corner 1 or 'Drop the Handkerchief?"
"I have played that last. But there is a way they play it with a song
and I think that is wrong. There is sin in a song that has'nt religion in it.
When asked about dancing she replied with conviction: "Once dancing
was used in a way of praising the Lord, but now we make a sin of it, be-
cause we put our whole heart and soul in it, and take our minds off of
"Is your mind never off Him for an instant?"
"Not even at a Thanksgiving dinner, where there is turkey, and cranber-
ries and plum pudding ?" t
Called to the Ministry— Evangelistic Work in the South— Over-
flowing Congregations — Entering School— Invited
to New York.
When about seven years of age, Cleretta announced to her parents her
divine call to preach the Gospel but they tried to discourage her and to
divert her from this purpose by telling her that she was too young and un-
informed in the Scriptures to attempt and undertake so responsible and
important a work. But, nothing daunted, she insisted and announced to
her friends that God had commanded and commissioned her to proclaim
His truth to the people; and, therefore, she preached her first sermon at a
camp meeting at Raleigh, N. C, August 17th, 1893. When it is remem-
bered that this little girl-preacher, or "pickaninny preacher," as she is
generally called, had never attended school, but was taught simply to read
by her parents, it was certainly marvelous to behold the command of lan-
guage, knowledge of the Bible and elocutionary powers exhibited by her
in this her first sermon, of one half hour long, delivered to a large congre-
gation. That sermon made her famous. Invitations to preach from
churches and from white and colored people in the adjoining cities and
towns poured in upon this tiny little preacher. Cleretta and her mother
started out at once u on an evangelistic tour, in which the inspired little
preacher did the preaching and praying, and Mrs. Avery conducted the
singing. Large revivals were held at Cheraw, Society Hill, Florence,
Georgetown, Darlington, and many other places in North and South Car-
olina, in which hundreds of grown persons and many children were truly
converted. A reporter of the News and Courier, the leading paper in South
Carolina, gives the following account of her preaching recently at Darling-
ton, South Carolina:
"For two weeks past Cleretta Nora Avery, a little nine-year-old colored
girl, has been creating a sensation here. She is a little girl preacher, and
during her entire stay she has preached three sermons daily, and whites
and blacks, the latter especially, attended the services in large numbers.
In this extremely hot weather she shows no fatigue, her voice did not fail
at all, and, strange to say, she has said nothing that should not have been
said. She is small, weighing sixty or seventy-five pounds, probably. In
size, manner and general appearance she is a child, and from this stand-
point she is most remarkable.
"Her sermons are never argumentative nor discussive, but she frequently
states thoughts and ideas well worth thinking over. A vein of pathos goes
through all that she says, and her vividly picturesque and poetic style often
carries away the colored portion of her hearers. She seems to have a vague
dread of eternity, and always alludes to this vast unknown as 'way over
"She is young, small of stature, and is, beyond doubt, a little child, and
yet she preaches sermons that have made their impression upon all who
heard, and this is the 'simple wonder' of it all. Her face is quiet and
thoughtful, and universal comment has been made about the expression of
her eyes. They are large, brown, and thoiightful, very expressive and
luminous, varying but little throughout her entire sermon, always keeping
a steady gleam that changes occasionally, but never very much.
"Her manner when speaking on any subject is not childish; on the con-
trary, she is calm, deliberate and remarkably self-possessed, and talks of
religion as a mature Christian would. She makes no notes of what she in-
tends saying, but after reading a few verses from the Bible she announces
her subject, and generarly sticks to it; closes the Book and says what she
has to say. She has all the style in voice, intonation, delivery and gesture
of an experienced pulpit speaker. Her speech is fluent and easy, her
voice is modulated, and in approaching a climax she suggests at times the
Idea that she is mimicking some preacher, so faithfully does she reproduce
what we see and hear so often. No matter how large the congregation,
liow many whites are present, or how much shouting is done, she seems to
be thinking only of what she is saying, and nothing distracts her or claims
any share of her attention.' 1
When it is remembered that this * 'little girl preacher, 1 ' as she is gene-
rally called, never had the opportunity of attending school but was taught
simply to read by her parents, it is certainly marvelous to behold her com*
mand of language, knowledge of the Bible, and elocutionary powers.
Cleretta came to Charleston, S. C, early this fall to enter and connect
herself with the Charleston Industrial Institute and Home for Girls, an in-
stitution founded a few years ago by a number of leading colored ministers
and laymen of this city for the intellectual, moral and industrial training
of some of the thousands of colored boys and girls who are without any
school facilities in this city, and are therefore growing up in ignorance,
idleness and crime. The demand for her to preach was very great,
and during four weeks she has packed several of the largest colored
churches three times a day with large crowds of white and colored people,
and many persons have been added to the colored churches as the result of
her preaching. Under the heading of "An Infant Phenomenon' ' the News
and Courier of a recent date has the following concerning this little
"This little girl preacher, Cleretta Nora Avery of whom there has been
so much talk in the up country, is now in Charleston, and has during the
past week been preaching at the Morris-street Baptist Church before large
audiences. Yesterday the little girl preached morning, afternoon and
evening, and the crowds were larger that before. At the afternoon service
the church was crowded and seats were placed in the aisles near the plat-
form, and a large number of white ladies were present. The platform was
occupied by the pastor, the Rev. J. L. Dart, the elder, Mrs. Avery, and
Cleretta Avery, the girl preacher. The child, for she is but ten years old,
and looks younger, sat in a large chair to the right and scanned with in»
terest the audience. She has large, pretty eyes, good features and a dark
olive complexion. Sitting in the chair her heelless shoes were two inches
from the floor. She w T as tastefully dressed in black and wore a soft felt
hat. Mr. Dart, in introducing the little preacher, said that she had been
suffering with a bad cold for several days, but was, nevertheless, anxious
to essay this, her second service that day.
"Cleretta Avery then came to the improvised reading desk (the regular
one having been temporarily displaced on account of its height), read a
portion of the second chapter of Matthew r and made a prayer, simple, yet
complete— a prayer for strength and keener sight. 'Oh, Lord,' said this,
childish petitioner in closing, * even what we fail to ask for do not fail to
give us.' Her voice was low and tremulous at first, but when, after a
hymn by the congregation, she read out the subject of her discourse, it
was strangely resonant and clear. Her gestures were good and her manner
very earnest. She read the portions of St. John which precede the raising
of Lazarus, and selected from them several sentences to emphasize it.
"Jesus is the resurrection,' she said, 'and in Him we shall live and never
die. The immortal soul must live, but, oh, my friends, shall it live with
God in heaven or with the devil in hell ? If \ve believe in the Savior we
know He has saved us and others can be saved. It is for us to help the
sinners and turn them around. 1 wish I could see every sinner turned
around and marching to eternal glory.
•' 'We know there is a God; we know that Jesus can do .all things.
Look! He speaks to the winds and the storms, and all is peace. He is
the resurrection. He holds the keys of death and hell Dear friends, the
time is soon coining when you will stand near the door. Will He say to
you, "Come with me to heaven," or send you down to hell ? We want to
get ready. If we must live and never die, let it be where there is rest.
Many of us have friends who have gone before us; shall we not meet them
again in the joys of heaven, when Gabriel blows his trumpet and the graves
give up their dead ?
" 'Friends, Jesus is a mighty captain; He is a mighty doctor. When we
need a leader He comes to us; when we are ill He comforts us. He is our
friend when all others fail us.
" 'If sinners only knew the dangerous path they are following they
would turn back — the path that leads to hell. I can imagine I hear the
doomed ones in hell warning the sinners to turn back. We want the
Christians to be true and pure and fight until the war is over. We want
sinners to join this army. No one knows how sweet is religion until they
have it. Sinners, oh! make up your minds and change from nature to
grace before it is too late. The angels are beckoning to you; do not say
you cannot give up the world and its pleasures. Turn all around and ac-
cept grace. You are walking on the brink of hell. Many sinners are
allowed to return from the very edge of hell that they may repent. Chris-
tions, if the spark is nearly out, if you are almost in despair, go to Jesus;
He will renew your strength. Sinners, we want you to get religion. You
will see no great wonders, but you will be so happy ! You will love the
whole world and wish you could take everybody in your arms and fly away
to Heaven. Christians, fight until the war is ended, I have entered the
fight and for more than a year have done my best. I am not weary. I
will fight until I go to Jesus. Pray for'me, my friends; I need your pray-
ers, we all need prayer, and I will pray for you, that you may live and
never die, with Jesus, who is the resurrection."
The fame of this little colored girl preacher has reached the great me.
tropolis, and the prominent papers of New York , have invited Cleretta to
visit that city. She has invitations from 'many places to preach, and sev-
eral white and colored friends have written beautiful letters to her about
her preaching and work.
Among the many letters she received on this tour of preaching is the
Lester, Marlboro County, S. C, Ausrust 26, 1895.
Miss Cleretta Avery :
Dear Miss : — Having had the pleasure of hearing you preach twice in
Bennettsville yesterday — morning and in the afternoon— I am more than
anxious to he#r you preach again. After hearing and seeing you for my-
self I am satisfied that you are all you claim to be. Several of my race — I
am an Anglo-Saxon — believe you are a humbug; but to all such I say " go
and hear for yourself, and do not believe me only and you will be certainly
convinced." I believe you are a child, inspired by our precious, heavenly
father to tell to all that Jesus died to save sinners, My object in writing
you this letter is this; I am anxious to have a history of yourself. Please
write a brief, condensed history of yourself and send it to me by mail. Do
me the kindness to give the following particulars : date of your birth, age
at which you first knew right from wrong, age a1 your conversion, your
present age, how long you have been preaching, do you prepare your ser-
mons, your full name and the names of your parents, also your birthplace
and that of your parents. If you do not answer letters please have your
mother answer this one. You will remember me, perhaps, as the young white
man who gave you some money and shook hands with you in the colored
Baptist Church of Bennettsville, after preaching yesterday morning. If
you will keep me posted as to your address I will send you small sums of
money at intervals to help you carry on the work of rescuing souls,
i Wishing you God-speed in your glorious work and trusting that God
may give you many souls for your work as stars in your crown, I beg, dear
sister, to remain,
ROBERT L. PEARSON,
We know there is a God; we know that Jesus can do all things! Look!
He speaks to the wind and the storm and all is peace. He is the resur-
rection. He holds the keys of death and hell. Dear friends, the time is
soon coming when you will stand near the door, will He say to you, 'Come
with me to heaven, or send you down to hell. We want you to get ready.
If we must live and never die, let it he where there is rest. Many of us
have friends who have gone before us, shall we not meet them again in the
joys of heaven, when Gabriel blows his trumpet and the graves give up
their dead ?
Friends, Jesus is a mighty Captain; He is a mighty Doctor. When we
need a leader, He comes to us; when we are ill he comforts us. He is our
friend when all others fail us.
If sinners only knew the dangerous path they are following they would
turn back, the path that leads to hell. I can imagine I hear the doomed
ones in hell warning the sinner to turn. We want the Christians to be true
and pure and fight until the war is over. We want sinners to join this
army. No one knows how sweet is religion until they have it. Sinners,
Oh ! make up your minds and change from nature to grace before it is too
late. The angels are beckoning to you, do not say you cannot give up the
world and its pleasures. Turn all around and accept grace. You are
walking on the brink of hell. Many sinners are allowed to return from the
very edge of hell that they may repent. Christians, if the spark is nearly
out, if you are almost in despair, go to Jesus; He will renew your strength.
Sinners, we want you to get religion. You will see no great wonders, but
you will be so happy! You will love the whole world, and wish you
could take everybody in your arms and fly away to heaven. Christians,
fight until the war is ended. I have entered the fight, and for more than a
year have done by best. I am not weary. I will fight until I go to Jesus.
Pray for me, my friends. I need your prayers; we all need prayers, and I
will pray for you, that you may live and never die, with Jesus, who is the
The newspapers of the country generally took up the remarkable preach-
ing of this wonderful colored child. She received many letters and invi-
tations from prominent ministers in the leading cities of the North and
South. And as she desired to help in the development of that worthy in-
stitution at Charleston, where she had received some literary instruction,
by erecting there a building for the instruction of friendless and destitute
colored girls, Cleretta decided to visit New York city for a few months.
The New York Sun of October 15th, 1895, gave the following account of
Cleretta's preaching in the Carolinas:
" A South Carolina pickaninny — she may be called that, for she is in the
9th year of her age and black — is preaching the Gospel with power to the
sinners of that State. She began to exhort when 7 years old, and she has
labored both in North Carolina and South Carolina since that time. She is
described as a prodigy, and her sermons are said to be wonderful. Re-
cently, when preaching in Marlboro County, both blacks and whites
crowded to hear her. Large numbers of sinners are converted through
her stirring appeals. At Oxford her converts numbered 150; at Wades-
boro, 50; at Sanford, 34; at Marion, 39; at Society Hill 22; at Vass, 10,
and at other places yet more. The ten converts at Vass were the fruits of
a single day's work. She does not always compose her own sermons; she
can repeat any sermon which she has once heard. White sinners as well
as black are among her converts. She can recite whole chapters of the
Uospel. Her first name is Cleretta.
"We can say to this preaching pickaninny that there is a large field for
her among the black people of this city, very many of whom are flagrant
sinners, tough as any in South Carolina. She can easily find a place in
which to preach here; and if her eloquence is as captivating as the Rev.
Mr. Streater says it is, white people as well as colored will enjoy it. We
have no preacher of that kind here. Madison Square Garden might be
hired for her. We promise to give a full report of the first sermon she de-
livers in this city, if it is up to the mark.
About the middle of November following, Cleretta, her mother and the
Rev. J. L. Dart left that city for the great metropolis, taking with them
the benedictions of many, and several letters of commendation of which
the following is a specimen :
Charleston, S. C, October 28th, 1895.
Bear Brethren of the Ministry:
I take special pleasure in commending to your favor Miss Cleretta Nora
Avery, the little girl preacher. She has done much good in this city. She
is not only a great wonder, but a mighty power, and is capable of doing
much good for the Master's cause by her preaching. She certainly must
be inspired. She preached nine sermons in my church to immense crowds,
and her sermons aroused my entire Church and resulted in the conversion
of many precious souls. I have never seen such a stir among the people
in my life as she caused in this city in all the churches.
Yours most truly,
J. H. WELCH,
Pastor Mt. Zion A. M. E. Church.
Cleretta Visits New York — Creates a Great Sensation — Evange-
listic Work— Letters.
From the day of arrival of the little "Pickanniny preacher" and her at-
tendants in New York City until Christmas morning, when we left, Cle-
retta was kept very busy. It was soon noised abroad that the little child
wonder had reached the great metropolis. Numerous newspaper reporters
and writers for almost every paper in that great city called and had lengthy
interviews with her. These reporters followed us from church to church,
and from city to city, and they devoted two and three columns of their
papers to full reports of Cleretta' s sermons, and in some cases gave large,
life-sized illustrations of her. These sermons, pictures and attractive
headlines in the New York Sun, Herald,- Journal, Advertiser, Recorder,
World, Press, and other leading papers created a decided sensation among
all the people of that city. The pastors of several of the leading white
and colored churches in New York, Brooklyn and the adjoining cities and
towns came to us and invited Cleretta to preach to their congregations. In
these churches during her six weeks stay in the North, the little preacher
addressed more than 100,000 persons and preached more than one hun-
dred sermons, speaking four times a r day, sometimes. The churches, the
Gospel missions, the John's Street Noonday Prayer Meeting and other
places were crowded to hear her.
Hundreds were happily converted. On one occasion, at the Mount Oli-
vet Baptist Chinch, New York, when she had finished her sermon and
many persons rushed forward and requested her to pray for them, which
she did, and at the conclusion of the service ten persons arose and de-
clared that they had found a hope in the Saviour. Cleretta is truly a win-
ner of souls, and all her converts loved her and many of them followed her
from church to church. She corresponds with many of them regularly,
and thus encourages them to hold fast to Christ.
We shall bring this sketch of the life of Cleretta Nora Avery to a close
by inserting a few of the many letters that we have received from the North
since our little preacher returned to her Sunny South, where she is now
preaching and conducting large revivals, and fitting herself by careful
study for greater usefulness in the future.
This letter is from the pastor of the Macdougal Street Baptist Church,
(white) of New York :
New York, February 13th.
My Dear Dr. Dart :— I am glad that you and the little girl preacher
and her mother have reached your homes in safety and you feel rested
after your laborious trip up North. I shall always cherish the remem-
brance of your service in my church. It was the beginning of good things
to us. When I offered you the church I was alorie; neither trustees nor
deacons liked the idea, but they did not oppose me. But after the service
they were all delighted with the little girl, and our church has been in a
state of revival ever since. I regard the little girl preacher a marvel, and
I feel that there are great possibilities in her. I hope that many clergymen
will follow our example and open their doors wide for the little preacher
that she may in her own peculiar, pathetic way — a preacher sui g eneris —
point sinners to the Mighty to save.
I remain yours truly,
D. V. GWILYM.
The next letter is from the honored pastor of a large church in New
East Orange, N. J., February 13th.
Dear Brother : — I wish to say that Cleretta Nora Avery is truly won-
der of the age. She made a lasting impression upon the minds of her
Orange congregations. All who heard her took knowledge of her that she
had been with Jesus. Her command of language, musical voice, graceful
gestures, profound thought, clear conception of the Word of God, vivid'
illustration, and magic influence over the hearts of men stamp her as a
born linguist, thinker, orator and preacher.
GEO. E. READ.
Our last letter is from the Rev. Dr. J. S. Caldwell, pastor of the A. M. E.
Zion Church, New York :
Dear Brother : — I take pleasure in stating for the benefit of the public
that Cleretta Nora Avery started her Northern Evangelistic work in my
church in the city of New York. She addressed an audience of nearly
3,000 people for at least twenty-five minutes, holding them spell-bound
while she delivered to them the simple Gospel truth. I am convinced
that the child is sent from God and has a God-given message to proclaim
to the world. She ought to be seen and heard in every town and hamlet
of our country, if it is possible New York was stirred up by her simple
preaching as deeply as though it had been a Moody or a Sam Jones.
Yours in Gospel Bonds,
J. S. CALDWELL,
Pastor A. M. E. Zion Church.
In conclusion we desire to return sincere thanks to the host of friends
of the little girl preacher for the many kindnesses shown to herself and the
educational cause which she represents, and to request the continuance of
their prayers that she might be thoroughly educated, filled with the Holy
Spirit and accomplish much good for God and her people in her day and
The Wonder of Wonders.
[From the Wilmington, (N. C) Becord.]
The preaching of Cleretta Nora Avery is the wonder of this century. A
wee bit of humanity, appearing when one first looks upon her as a mere
school girl preparing to '"recite her piece;" but after she has introduced
her subject and begins her sermon, the little girl begins to grow and ex-
pand until one sees before him — not the little girl — but a powerful woman,
a variatable giant intelligence and inspiration. Her sermons are forceful,
logical and with all eloquent.
Cleretta's father was a minister and it seem that the work begun by the
father is being completed by the daughter. As the mantle fell from Eli-
jah uponElisha, so it seems that the mantle of inspiration has fallen upon
this wonderful colored child. It is claimed for her that she was converted
at the age of 18 months. Be this is as it may her preaching is wonderful
as the great crowds which follow her from place to place will attest.